The Official Site of Author Joseph Heywood The Official Blog of Author Joe Heywood
21 Mar

The Day After

On the very small  news front, the short story collection has gone to the publisher for ed board meeting. It they’re interested it will be published a year or so from now. 30 all new, never-see-before short stories, all with female protagonists. Collection is called Harder Ground, Stories from the Distaff Angle.



15 Mar

Happy Birthday, Coach

Ed Jarvie was  a legendary UP coach for the Rudyard Bulldogs. I played football, basketball and baseball for him and was in his world history class. He was also principal of the HS in my senior year. He was a major force in shaping me and lots more kids. Happy 86th coach and wife Yvonne, who was always just off-stage providing untold strength for a driven man.

Coach Ed Jarvie, 86 years young.

Coach Ed Jarvie, 86 years young and Yvonne, “The Missus,” his unaging bride of many years.

14 Mar

Last Gasps of Winter (Let Us Hope)


Winter leaves to open with a reminder of summer’s agate hunting. How cool.

Seems springyish today, heaving melting, but still only 32 degrees.  Some visual thoughts to share. Over.


Where writer’s seek their chunks of unbroken time.


Reminder of my most recent deer schmucking.


Hairy Snow Sentinel


Glorious fiber art by my friend Karen. This is really cool, all sewn in great detail


Kitchen view of our most recent snowfall, and we hope, our last.


Ice going away, concrete coming home.


13 Mar

Thots On the Irrelevance of Who Cooketh the Dinner

A week or so ago, Lonnie and three friends went over to a nice restaurant in town for dinner. While there, our friends noticed the cook step outside for a smoke and they were all disgusted. “Can you imagine him cooking our dinners?” It was a poignant moment, I thought, and it made me laugh to myself.  We were there to informally of celebrate my friend Jay’s upcoming Scientific American  article, my recent Gray’s piece and my new short story collection draft.

Naturally the comment go my mind grinding and I thought, while some folks who  have read a novel want to meet the maker of the novel, few people want to meet the cook at the restaurant, unless it’s one of those tony snoot-ops where toffs go and the chef comes out to take his bows, like a tenor at La Scala.

Speculative Fiction Author Neal Stephenson talked about some of this in a collection of essays called, Some Remarks.

As a post script, let me add that most authors eat time up with signings and such because it is “part of the biz,” not because they enjoy it. And we end up with websites and blogs because most other authors do, so it is a modern “price of doing business.”

Wrote Stephenson, “A novel has roughly the same relationship to a conversation with an author, as a movie does to the actors in it. A movie represents many person-years of work distilled into two hours, and so everything sounds and looks perfect. But if you have ever met a movie actor in person, you know they are not quite as dazzling and witty (or as tall) as the figures they play in movies.”

I have tried to explain this to people many times, but they don’t seem to understand it and that is some authors, perhaps most loathe public appearances. Yes they and we meet nice people. But it is a superficial scraping and ultimately a waste of time for all involved.  Most authors would rather have the time.

Stephenson goes on, “Likewise, a novel represents years of  hard work distilled into a few hundred pages, with all (or at least most) of the bad ideas cut out and thrown away, and the good ideas polished and refined as much as possible. Interacting with an author in person is nothing like reading that person’s novels. Just about everyone who gets to meet an author in person ends up feeling mildly let down and in some cases, grievously disappointed.” Stephenson says his main communication with readers is through the pages of the books he writes and they read, and I agree with this. All other contact makes no sense. You order dinner at a restaurant. If it’s good, you’ll come back again. If not, you won’t and who the chef is has no part in the formula.

Stephenson concludes, “Normally my only interaction with  readers is to go to a FedEx dropbo9x every couple of years and throw in the manuscript or completed novel.”

The noted author explains, “Writing novels is hard, and requires vast unbroken slabs of time. Four quiet hours is a resource, that I can put to good use. Two slabs of time, each two hours long, might add up to the same four hours, but are not nearly as productive as the unbroken four.” He’s talking her about getting into the zone, which almost all authors need to reach in order to put out creditable work. Anything that takes away from that, pal phone calls, sales calls, drop-ins, signings, speaking engagements, etc take away from that. So does FACEBOOK and blogging, and websites, but these are the cost of doing business in these perilous publishing times.

Just some thoughts from the desktop.

Want to read a fine book by an Iraq war veteran? Try Phil Klay’s Redeployment. Wonderful short stories that carry you away from first to last page.


13 Mar

Can We Ever Really Know When Real is Real?

Just finished reading Neal Stephenson’s In The Beginning…Was the Command Line.” Very interesting 151-page “essay” about computers, IBM, Apple, Linux, BeOS, and all the rest. Some interesting notions and observations, as always in Stephenson’s polymathic  screeds. But here’s what jumped out to me:

“When Ronald Reagan was a radio announcer, he used to call baseball games that he did not physically attend by reading the terse descriptions that trickled in over the telegraph wire and were printed out on a paper tape. He would sit there, all by himself in a padded room with a microphone, and the paper tape would creep out of the machine and crawl over the palm of his hand printed with cryptic abbreviations. If the count went to three and two, Reagan would describe the scene as he saw it in his mind’s eye: ‘The brawny left-hander steps out of the batter’s box to wipe the sweat from his brow. The umpire steps forward to sweep the dirt from home plate,’ and so on. When the cryptogram on the paper tape announced a base hit, he would whack the edge of the table with a pencil, creating a little sound effect, and describe the arc of the ball as if he could actually see it. His listeners, many of whom presumably thought that Reagan was actually at the ballpark watching the game, would reconstruct the scene in their minds according to his descriptions.”

Stephenson then goes on to say, “This is exactly how the World Wide Web works: the HTML files are the pithy descriptions on the paper tape, and your web browser is Ronald Reagan. The same is true of graphical user interfaces in general.”

Typical good writing from Stephenson, but the anecdote sent my mind in another direction.

How do people know when real is real or a facsimile thereof? The Reagan example is to my mind a sort of audio Photoshop, which I will describe generally as presenting something  as  real that is not real. Or not entirely so. The game was real enough. Reagan being there was not, yet clearly he was attempting to create the impression that he was at least for those listeners who didn’t know better. Is this ethical?

We had an interesting situation when Upjohn merged with Pharmacia of Sweden and we discovered our Swedish brothers and sisters were sending out photographs with press releases showing their CEO and our together and presenting a story as if they had physically met and decided x, y or z. Wasn’t true. The photo was photo shopped. I got onto it by seeing a photo and calling the CEO’s assistant who told me he was in an entirely different part of the world when the event in the release happened.

I then asked our Swedish colleagues about it and told them, you can’t put out a photo that  isn’t true. They countered with, “But it can be done technically.” True, but you are telling the media (and our employees and shareholders, etc) that they met to do x when they didn’t.

They were not too happy with me or us, but the photo practiced stopped. Just because one can do something doesn’t not necessarily mean it should be done.

When I think of the President to be in that room I think wow, what a tough job of sustained creativity that must have been, and then I think, he was living a lie to his listeners by not  proclaiming the facts of the representation. Had he, he might have lost his audience, or his station’s audience, so I have to think the decisions was made to gloss over reality in the interest of potential sales and audience size, one equally the other down the business model line of those says.

Then I wonder how much reality is there in today’s so called “reality television.”

As a writer of fiction I do the same thing the president did, but label my work either a novel or  short story, which tells everyone it’s made up. Then I have to find a way to make the story seem real so folks will suspend their disbelief throughout the offering. What I’m writing may be factually accurate viz the  real world, or not, but it’s my job to make it seem so, at least in the sort of writing I’ve done to date, and as I think about it, this holds true for all writing.

An interesting aside here is that over time, writers develop a sort of style, a quickly recognized  and unique way of putting together thoughts and words. This has always been true of writing and writers, fiction and nonfiction. Stephenson talks about his brother-in-law, a theologian who reads 3250 year-old cuneiform tablets and Stephenson says “he can recognize the handwriting of particular scribes and identify them by name.”

Stephenson at the time was describing a massive manuscript loss due to computer malfunction and concludes, “It’s easy enough to buy little converter programs that will take care of this problem. But if you are a writer whose career is words, who professional identity is a corpus of written documents, this kind of thing is extremely disquieting. There are very few fixed assumptions in my line of work, but one of them is that once you have written a word, it is written, and cannot be unwritten. The ink stains the paper, the chisel cuts the stone, the stylus marks the clay, and something has irrevocably happened.

He finishes up, “But word-processing software – particularly the sort that employs special, complex file formats – has the eldritch power to unwrite things. A small change in file formats, or a few twiddled bits, and months or years’ literary output can cease to exist.”

“Eldritch?” I had to look it up too. It means “weird, sinister, ghostly.”

Now to work.  I’ll close with this, from Robert Anton Wilson’s Nature’s God:  “Is,” “is,” “is”—the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don’t know what anything “is”; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.”

Prolly as good a take on reality as we are likely to find.


09 Mar

Sunday Funnies and Boo Hoo Blues, And Sew 4th.

I was very, very sad to read in today’s Gazette that Michael G “Mike” Martin, 72, has died. Haven’t seen Mike in years, but for a quarter of a century we saw a lot of each other at WMU games, at K-Wings games, in the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association,  SW Michigan High School Hockey League, and Portage Northern H.S. Hockey, and in the Over-30 Fat Boy Adult leagues. At WMU and the K-Wings, we were just fans and pals. The rest of time we opponents, of sorts. I was either a coach or player or minor team official. Mike always did the job and always made me laugh. By the way, he was always Martin on the ice. He had his own way of communicating. To say the least.

Me: Why the hell did you call that, Martin?”

Mike: “Your tie color sucks.”

Me: “I’m not wearing a tie.”

Mike: “There ya go.”


Another time:

Mike: “Heywood, your player speared the goalie.”

Me: “You don’t know a spear from a darning needle, Martin.”

Mike: “Yah? I know that goalie’s my son. Any further questions?”


On the ice in a fat boy league fracas, in the aftermath, bodies here and there, Mike trying to assess penalties. He turns to me:

Mike: “You’re getting old, Heywood. Took you two punches to knock that sucker out.”

Me: “You need glasses. I didn’t punch anybody.”

Mike: “Well, you should have because you’re getting five and a game.”

Me: “See you at the bowling alley after the game?”

Mike: “Yah, sounds good. Now, Yooooooure outtta here!”

He was a fine and memorable man who gave decades of his life to hockey and kids in this county and state.  He will be missed. My condolences to his family. There are legions of us out here in the darkened stands who are so sorry for your loss.  I expect when we meet again, he’ll still be wearing stripes.

We took a circuitous route to the grock store today for our Sunday papers (NYT, Chi Trib, and Kaz Gaz). In an approximate three mile radius of our house in Portage we counted 15 churches. They are: Prince of Peace Lutheran; Victory Baptist; Cross Community Church; Greater Faith Empowerment Center; Kalamazoo First Assembly of God; Chapel Hill United Methodist; St. Michael’s Lutheran; Oakland Drive Christian Church: Kingdom Hall /Jehovah’s Witnesses; St. Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church; The Bridge; Portage United Church of Christ; Cornerstone Pentecostal and Valley Family Church, which has an annex in the radius but has moved main ops to church once called the Cathedral. Valley is a megachurch. All those churches and not a single family bar. Too bad. It appears to me that Christianity is a badly segmented, split and tied up in disagreements as the factions in our political parties.  A republican is not just a republican, or a democrat  just a democrat, but some other subgroup/category. Same for the Christian churches.

Then I read in the Chicago Tribune how Pentecostal style worship and wealth gospel have proved popular across Asia. America invented the mega-church, but Asian countries now have the biggest. Prosperity gospel blends the spiritual and the material. Kind of like predestination once declared that our spiritual faith would be known by our worldly status and no, the meek-and-poor did not inherit the earth in that scheme. The Trib story says the Singaporian churches are “working to export it to the world and turn Singapore into a hub for evangelical Christianity.”  For some years now Christian denominations in Africa have been sending missionaries to the US, while the US continues to send same such folk that direction. Who is trying to save Whom?”

I also read in the Trib that rain dances are being held in San Juan Bautista, CA. “In a small town, when you call a rain dance, word gets around,” said Ray Sanchez, a barbecue chef, construction worker of Apache heritage.

Trib also reports half the states in the US are considering decriminalizing or legalizing pot.

Sad item. One Ebony Wilson of Somewhere, South Carolina, 32, pregnant, told her Fam she needed a break. There was talk of an abusive husband in the story, but not much detail.  Ms. Ebony some of her kids, 3,9 and 10 to Florida for a “break.” Drove out onto a beach near Daytona Beach, and got stopped by cops. She seemed normal, and  police let her go on, whereupon she  promptly told her kids to close their eyes and go to sleep and aimed her minivan for the ocean. She got to a depth of 3 feet, before being stopped.  Her nine-year-old fought her for the steering wheel the whole way. Others noticed the erratic  driving, pursued and caught up.  At some point she reportedly told authorities, she was” taking her children to a safer place.” The kids reported she started talking to Jesus and qall when they got to Florida. The news report says there is no known history of mental illness. May I suggest away from her is a safer place and I wonder, as a writer, what life holds for those kids, what sort of PTSD will live in their neurocells. Her marriage was not characterized as a happy one. We live in a sad, strange world.

We have some snow melting under way here. Supposed to be in the fifties tomorrow. I read  in the Trib today, “So much ice coverage in the Great Lakes will not effect spring. Data from 1973 now suggests little or no correlation between the max amount of lake ice and mean spring temperatures. Rationale: Because the surface area of the Great Lakes is so  small compared to the large-scale airflow over the continent. The paper cited 1976-77 which had 94 percent ice coverage and up until then, warmest spring on history.

Working memory is linked to IQ and is the first brain function to decline as you age. It is central to your ability to manipulate stored information and can be improved by practicing a series of simple exercises, which of course you must pay for in order to use them.

On a somewhat more serious note, a piece by Kyle Bibby of the Kazoo Nature Center says today, Robins don’t really migrate. They  move into the woods when neighborhood food production falls off, or slightly south. Interesting.

I am now trying to close up taxes, but am also thinking about writing. The magnificent Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash talks about language. Character says, “Well, a French-speaker’s brain starts out the same as an English Speaker’s brain. As they grow up, they get programmed with different software – they learn different languages.”

Another character then explains, “Yes. Therefore, according to the universalists, French and English – or any other languages – must share certain traits that have their roots in ‘deep structures’ in the brain. According to Chomskyan theory, the deep structures are innate components of the brain that enable it to carry forward certain formal kinds of operations on strings of symbols. Or, as Steiner paraphrases Emmon Bach: These deep structures eventually lead to the actual patterning of the cortex with its immensely ramified yet, at the same time, ‘programmed’ network of electrochemical and neurophysiological channels.

Another character concludes: “So Lagos was trying to say that the newborn human brain has no structure – as the relativists would have it – and that as the child learns a language, the developing brain structures itself accordingly, the language gets blown into the hardware and becomes a permanent part of the brain’s deep structure – as the universalists  would have it.”

How much of this is out of Stephenson’s mind I don’t yet know, but will take a look. The notion that language can shape the brain is intriguing. And if true, what effect does multiple language-learning have? Or learning drastically different kinds of languages?

Fascinating stuff. Appropos of nothing but pure curiosity and the high state of Huh.

On a more practical side I have all my topo maps for five counties this summer. Soon we will be out in the bush marking up the great fishing and animal sighting-spots.

On a less practical side, I realized that when Zip drives went bye-bye and flash drives and CDs became all the memory rage, I failed to transfer 6-7 manuscripts to the newer storage methods, and now I must get that done in the next few weeks. It never, never ends.

Friends Joe (“Griz”) and Nan Harris sent me the attached photo. A shelf all to myself. Funny. A true honor.


Michael G. Martin,  1941-2014  RIP, Michael Me Boyo.

Michael G. Martin,
RIP, Michael Me Boyo.

Harris Bookcase


01 Mar

Reading to Start the Year

Reading Through February. Actually I’m in he Wellington book now, and several of these I read last year and again this year, largely to transfer marginal notes to my Commonplace book.

(1) Carolyn Ells, Michael G. Flaherty, Eds. Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience. (1992) [NF]

 (2)Welker Givson. Tough, Sweet & Stuffy: An Essay on Modern Prose Styles.(1966) [NF]

 (3) Mary Ann Glendon. Rights Talk:  The Impoverishment of Political Discourse. (1991) [NF]

 (4)Edward H. Crane, Intro. Speaking Freely: The Public Interest in Unfettered Speech: Essays from  Conservative Research (1995) [NF]

 (5) Websters. Picturesque Word Origins. (1993) [NF]

 (6)James Salter. There & Then; The Travel Writing of James Salter. (2005) [NF] 

(7) Greg Grandin. Fordlandia.(2009) [NF]

 (8) Jane Emery. Rose Macaulay: A Writer’s Life (1991) [NF]

 (9) Tad Tuleja. Foreignisms. (1989) [NF]

 (10) Marshall McLuhan. The Gutenberg Galaxy. (1962) [NF]

 (11) Ford Madox Ford. Parade’s End (1924-25-26-28)

 (12) Richard Davenport-Hines, Ed. Hugh Trevor-Roper: The Wartime Journals.(2012) [NF]

 (13) Hugh Trevor-Roper. The Letters of Mercurius. (1970) [NF]

 (14) Adam Sisman. An Honourable Englishman: The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper. (2010) [NF]

 (15) E.B. White. Essays of e.b. white. (1977) [NF]

 (16) Phillip Lopate. Portrait Inside My Head (2013) [NF]

 (17) George Packer. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. (2013) [NF]

 (18) Elizabeth Raum. The Aztec Empire. (2013) [NF][Juvie]

 (19) Allison Lassieur. The Battle of Bull Run (2009) [NF]

 (20) Allison Lassieur. The Middle Ages. (2010) [NF]

 (21) Scott Andrew Selby. A Serial Killer in Nazi Berlin: The Chilling True Story of the S-Bahn Murderer. (2014) [NF]

 (22)Amir D. Aczel. The Jesuit& the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man. (2007) [NF]

 (23) Robert M. Gates. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War. (2014) [NF]

 (24) John Dos Passos. Three Soldiers (1921) [NF]

 (25) Marcel Proust. On Art and Literature. (1954) [NF]

 (26) Hilton Als. White Girls (2013) [NF]

 (27) Rimbaud. Illuminations and Other Prose Poems (1946) [NF]

 (28) Paul D. Staudohar. Baseball’s Best Short Stories (1995) [NF]

 (29) Michel de Montaigne. The Complete Essays. (1994/1568) [NF]

 (30)  Diane Osen. Ed. The Book That Changed My Life: Interviews withi National Book Award Winners and Finalists(2002) [NF]

 (31) Jincy Willett. Winner of the National Book Award (2003) [NF]

 (33) Edmund White. Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel. (2008) [NF]

 (32) Logan Pearsall Smith. Unforgotten Years (1939) [NF]

 (33) Stillman Drake, Trans. Discoveries and Opinions of Gallileo (1957/1610-13-15-23) [NF]

 (34) Ann Roiphe. Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason (2011) [NF]

 (35) Grace Tiffany. Paint. (2013) [NF]

 (36) James McBride. The Good Lord Bird. (2013) [NF]

 (37) Jim Harrison. Brown Dog. (2013) [NF]

 (38) John H. Ritter. The Boy Who Saved Baseball. (2005) [NF]

 (39) Liza Picard. Elizabeth’s London (2003) [NF]

 (40) Neil MacGregor. Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of An Era in Twenty Objects (2012) [NF]

 (41) Gail Kern Paster, Intro. Shakespeare: The Essential Guide to the Life and Workds of the Bard (2007) [NF]

 (42) Neil MacGregor. Shakespeare’s Restless World: An Unexpected History in Twenty Objects (2013) [NF]

 (43) Emile Zola. The Ladies’ Paradise (2008) [NF]

 (44) Maxine Hong Kingston. Tripmaster Monkey: His Face Book (1987)

(45) Ian Mortimer. The Time Traveler’s Guide: Elizabethan England (2012) [NF]

(46) Paul Dickson. Words from the White House (2013) [NF]

(47) John Smolens. My One and Only Bomb Shelter (2000) [NF]

(48) Albert Camus.The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (1955) [NF]

(49) Jim Nye. After Shock: Poems and Prose from the Vietnam War (1991) [NF]

(50) Norman F. Cantor. In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death & the World It Made (2001) [NF]

(51) Leo Damrosch. Jonathon Swift: His Life and His World. (2013) [NF]

(52) George Simenon. Maigret in Holland. (1940)

(53) William Benzon. Beethoven’s Anvil. (2001) [NF]

(54) Robert Mason Lee. Death and Deliverance: The True Story of an Airplane Crash at the North Pole. (1993) [NF]

(55) Jim Wallis. God’s Politics: A New Vision for Faith and Politics in America. (2005) [NF]

(56) Neal Stephenson.  Snow Crash. (1992)

(57) Willa Cather. One of Ours (2008)

(58) James Dale Davidson & Lord William Rees-Moog. The Sovereign Individual: How To Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State.(1997) [NF]

 (59) Joseph Heywood. Harder Ground: Stories From the Distaff Planet. (2014) [SS/draft]

(60) Rory Muir. Wellington: The Path To Victory, 1789-18-14 (2013) [NF]


01 Mar

Michigan Loses One of It’s Own

Michigan conservation Officer William Cherry of Missaukee County died last night. Natural causes, no details. RIP. When one goes down, all feel the pain.

27 Feb

Manuscript Status

Just this morning printed out the new short story collection HARDER GROUND.  We hope for spring 2015. 30 stories. I pulled a 31st for another story collection be called UNCHARTED EDGES.  As soon as I finish revising HARDER GROUND stories, I’ll get at BROWN BALL, which has been sitting as a first draft since last March. Be good to get back to that. Progress. Kalends of March coming soon to a snowbank near you. Great chat with pal Dave Wagner this week. His second Rick Montoya novel will be out by Poison Pen in September and he’s already laboring on Number 3.


27 Feb

Air Tales from Airline Aircrews

From pilot pals, from the civilian airline side. Airline Crew Stories:

Some of these stories are somewhat unusual to say the least but the closest I experienced was as a brand new Captain at age 38, I flew a flight with the number 1 flight attendant , Ida Staggers, in the back who referred to me as sonny, ha, ha.

 — The Capt on my flight pointed out Meteor Crater to the pax.  The young #1 came into the cockpit for a better view. “Wow” she said, “It just missed that road”….

 — As a soon to be off probation FO on the Airbus, came to the jet and met a very senior Long Island momma who was already in the galley building her nest.

 It was 0530 in the AM and she had a cigarette lit with a 3 inch ash hanging off it that moved as she talked. She had her hair up in a bun that looked like it could have housed 5 of her 12 cats that she shared a one bedroom apartment with. She sounded like a frog-throated Paris Island DI as she barked at me in a thick NY accent, “Hey sugar-britches, I been here 30 years and gave up sweating 20 years ago so turn on the Air Conditioning, alright?” The F/A shows up and we get ready to go.  About ten minutes before scheduled out time, she pops her head in the cockpit and says to the boss “Hey junior, we ain’t in this for the sex on layovers anymore so how about you pop the brakes so we can start getting paid, alright?” She was a classic.

 — I had a #1 that came up going into Seattle and wanted to know what mountains those were. Well I said that’s Mt Baker off the right and Mt. Rainier on the left.  But you know recently they changed the name of Mt Baker to Mt Fuji. Yeah, the guy that owns the Fuji film company moved there and donated a bunch of money to the local town so they named the Mt after him. She said OK thanks, someone wanted to know. 

 — Flying DC 10 out of DFW … Capt is 59, FE is 70 and I’m 35. Very senior FA (in her 60s) comes up and takes drink orders.  Capt and FE give theirs and she turns to leave. I say “Wait, what about me?” She turns and says “I’ll be back to breast feed you later kid!”.

 — Even earlier, when I was a new FE on DC 10, A senior F/A kept complaining about the cabin temp being too cold.  I thought I was doing great.  After several complaints, she finally came up and said “It ain’t the hot flashes, it’s just too cold.” With that she unbuttons her shirt and lifts up her bra. She says ” When these ole nipples stick up like this it ain’t because o’you, it’s because I’m fickkin cold.  Now can you you warm it up?”

 — In a previous life, a particular FO did not have the best of landings on one of our trips.  After clearing the runway the interphone rings, it is the #4 who proceeds to ask whose landing that was.  I tell her the FO’s, why? She says to tell the FO “if his dick is as hard as that landing that she is on her way up to the cockpit”   I almost ran off the taxiway laughing my ass off.

 — Most of my stories would involve Brenda Ward (Star-later).  If you ever had the pleasure of flying with this wonderful woman-you have stories. Rule 32 was designed around about 20 things Brenda is famous for.  You Chicago guys are lucky if Brenda is still around.  I’m only going to tell of my very first encounter with her as I am sure bringing up her name will result in stories from others.

 — As a new engineer, the Captain ‘warns’ me in ops about our #1-Brenda.  She sizes up new-hires by grabbing them by the ‘package’.  Sure enough, I walk on the 72, and there she is, standing in front of the cockpit door.  I stop in front of her.  With a hint of a smile, she grabs a hand-full of my manliness and says, my name is Brenda.  I sit my kit bag down, put one hand on each tit, and say, “Hi-my name is Greg.”   With a loud laugh she tells me that she and I will get along just fine, and we did – for the next 20 years. miss you Brenda – and I miss the Airline we used to fly for.

 — So here I am … squeaky FNG (F-ing new guy) on the 767 … triumphantly returning from Paris as the FO…flying back to Miami. I roll onto the ILS to 9R, fly a perfect profile … and then planted it like I was going for carrier landing of the year. The closest thing I could use to describe the touchdown would be the sound the guys make when they are emptying trash dumpsters and put them back on the ground at 0500. Anyway, we get to the gate, the skipper clicks off the seatbelt sign and 1/1000 of a second later, the cockpit door pops open (pre 9/11) and a pair of leopard spotted panties fly up onto the throttle quadrant.  The Captain grimaced and looked away…the FB said “Uh oh” and I just sat there dumbfounded (typical for me, BTW).Anyway … the #1 walks in a few seconds later and booms loudly “God dammed kid … if you wanted to get my panties off … all you would have had to do is ask!”  She then told me to get my ass out there and take credit for that crash landing.

 Ah yes…the good old days…

 – Prior to 911 when FAs came into the cockpit and on occasions stayed awhile, we were in a B-727 westbound on a very clear day when the sun overhead and behind us showed a very distinct shadow of the contrail on the ground just ahead of us. A young F/A asked what that line on the ground was. Without thinking, I told her it was the border between Kansas and Nebraska , to which she replied “OH, I always wondered how you guys always know where we are!”

 — Chicago to LA 15 years ago, young FA comes up to tell us that Eddie Van Halen is on our rather sparsely occupied jet. He gets up to use the lav. She calls him into the galley and closes the curtain to ask him for his autograph, which he provides using a black sharpie marker.  She comes into the cockpit to show my FO and I his signature and penmanship by unbuttoning her shirt and undoing the front clasp bra to expose her entire chest with “Best Wishes, Love Eddie Van Halen” Classic stuff. She says ‘I can’t wait to show my Mom, she loves rock and roll’

 –Two women get onto the Fokker and sit in 1st class, they are obviously strippers/hookers by the way they are dressed, seriously trampy. The #1 comes flying up to the cockpit mouth agape.  Having spotted them in the boarding area I tell her they are famous adult film stars …. “Amber Waves and Tiffany Crystal”. The #1 runs off to find the manifest to get their real names. I am now giggling to myself. The Captain who was in his late 40’s, never married due to anal/ego/complete lack of humor/personality issues and will remain nameless overhears the exchange and says to me ….”you know they are not porn stars right? I would know, because I follow that industry very closely and I have never seen them”…..Yikes.

 — DC 10 trip LAX-HNL-Number 1 comes in and tells new young FE (now a CA) to turn on the blowers.  He tries to tell her it is his panel. She pinches his cheek — Says “Right now Sonny, I use to baby sit you when you were a year old.” He couldn’t get them on fast enough. Good old days on the 10.

 — I’ve also had one believe (at least for a few minutes) the irrigated fields were “pizza farms”.

 — Nope, those are the fields used to graze special cows that produce round steak … I would gladly add more to this thread but I would get fired, divorced or both.

 –Flying RDU-DFW with a group of new hires doing their work trip, Capt. is Rox Moyers.  Long, tall Texas sorta boy with a really dry sense of humor.  Dinner’s over and each of the new girls visits the cockpit. The last little girl is barely “out-of-the-box”, blond (what else?), pixie cut, 5 foot nothing. She’s on the jump seat in the -80 and we’re about over MEM when Rox says “ain’t that a beautiful sunset ma’am?” Eyes as big as saucers she replies (and I’m not kidding): “I’ve never seen a sunset before.” Rox and I both turn around and look at her. He says “excuse me ma’am?” To which she replies: “I was born on the East Coast in Virginia Beach and you have to be on the West Coast or on a mountain or in an airplane to see a sunset!”  After a while she leaves.  Rox ponders all of this, turns to me and says without cracking a smile.  “Someday some young feller’s gonna think he’s got himself a hellova catch there”.

‘Nuff said.


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